Is eavesdropping legal?

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Is eavesdropping legal?

Is it legal for my employer to put a wireless device in our office to listen in and record what is said in the office?
He purchased a device that he hooked up to wifi that can both see us and listen to us in real time and is also recorded.
He has also given his son access to the app that is used to listen/see us.

Asked on January 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, it is permissable for an employer to have video/audio surveillance in the workplace. Typically, no employee consent is required for this since essentially there is no right to privacy if there is no "expectation of privacy". Therefore, a business has the right to install surveillance systems. That is so long as they are not installed in only such systems such bathrooms, dressing or break rooms or other such areas that would be deemed to be private spaces. Additionally, if it wants to set up a surveillance system that would record in individual offices, it would need to disclose this to affected employees, pursuant to state specific law. At this point check your employee handbook for company policy concerning on this or see if the issue is addressed in any applicable employment contract/union agreement. You can also consult directly with an employment lawyer in your area.


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